Flooding remains one of the more devastating risks that South and East Asia face, according to a new analysis commissioned by FM Global, one of the world’s largest commercial property insurers, and carried out by analytics advisory group Pentland Analytics.
The study examined 71 of the world’s largest publicly traded companies, all of which reported financial damage from a major flood event in recent years.

Twelve months after those flood losses, their shareholder value had declined by an average of 5%, equivalent to a collective $82bn. The fallen prices reflect investors’ lowered expectations of future cash flow—not the cost of the flood damage itself.

According to NASA, by mid-July, severe flooding had affected millions of people across South and East Asia, including in areas of North Vietnam, Central and Northern India, Nepal, Myanmar and South Japan. Likewise, China currently is facing historic flooding, with average rainfall around 12% higher than last year’s monsoon season, and economic damage expected to hit close to $12bn, according to Chinese government estimates.

“The current flooding situation across South and East Asia further illustrates the importance of the study, and highlights the need for companies across the region to make resilient choices, including smart decisions about site selection, emergency planning, structural reinforcement, elevation of critical machines and equipment, and use of flood barriers,” said Alex Tadmoury, senior vice president, division manager, Asia-Pacific, FM Global.

Bad management blamed, not ‘bad luck’

Dr Deborah Pretty, founder of Pentland Analytics, said, “Investors increasingly consider flood-related property loss and business disruption as bad management rather than bad luck. Investors evaluate the disruption caused by flood and anticipate the long-term harm to corporate reputation, market share and growth ambitions. They reassessed the future of these disrupted companies and it was 5% worse. That would seem to dwarf the cost of investing in flood protection.”

The new research results confirm similar findings from a precursor study last year on hurricane damage. Accompanying research showed gains for companies that had prioritised property loss prevention.

Methodology

Independent analytics advisory firm Pentland Analytics identified 71 US-listed non-financial companies with at least $3bn in revenue that disclosed direct financial damage in their annual 10-K statements owing to any of 10 named flood events on four continents during the past five years. In all of these events, flood was the dominant peril and industry losses exceeded $1bn. In modeling the impact on shareholder value, Pentland Analytics risk-adjusted the stock market returns and removed all marketwide influences.

About FM Global

FM Global is a mutual insurance company whose capital, scientific research capability and engineering expertise are solely dedicated to property risk management and the resilience of its client-owners. These owners, who share the belief that the majority of property loss is preventable, represent many of the world’s largest organisations, including one of every three Fortune 1000 companies. They work with FM Global to better understand the hazards that can impact their business continuity in order to make cost-effective risk management decisions, combining property loss prevention with insurance protection.


 

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